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Panthers can't weather Blazers' punch

September 07, 2005|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK - Last week's bad weather dealt Hancock's volleyball team a setback - the Panthers' new uniforms were held up in Miami and won't be available until later this week.

That's nothing compared to the setback Clear Spring delivered to Hancock on Tuesday night.

The Blazers rolled to an easy 25-9, 25-13, 25-9 victory, giving first-year coach Bobby Mongan his first varsity win.

"I was pleased with the execution and determination we had out there," Mongan said. "I expected a little rust, a little settling in, but we seemed to really be in sync."

And how.

The Blazers opened with a lineup punctuated by two talented freshmen. Emily Pinkham and Mandy Jenkins accounted for seven kills and eight assists, complementing the domination the Blazers showed at the net and in their defensive play.

Katie Reichard put the exclamation point on the evening in the final game, hammering home nine aces that spoiled a Panthers rally. When Hancock freshman Kaitlyn Sterner served three straight points to bring the Panthers to within two points at 15-13, Reichard went to work, with Pinkham icing the match.

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"We really spread the kills and assists around tonight," Mongan said. "Emily Steinacher did a really solid job setting for us and it kept us stable when (Hancock) made a few runs."

"We want to build on this. We saw some things tonight we can work on."

"We didn't play well enough to take advantage of the skills we have available on the floor." Hancock coach Deb Bowman said. "With the exception of Kaitlyn's three straight, we never were able to loosen up Jennifer Willison or Jenae Trail to get any hitting done. ... We hit tons of balls into the net, and we really didn't use our speed or defensive abilities. We were not the least bit consistent.

"We have a lot of work to do. Things only get tougher for us from here," Bowman added, with the Panthers next facing Apple Valley League foe and West Virginia powerhouse Hedgesville. "A whole lot tougher."

Clear Spring won the JV match, 25-23, 18-25, 15-10.

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